Tangosol Is the Tip of the Iceberg

Opinion: Oracle's acquisition of Tangosol could be the start of something big for grid and clustering software makers.

Oracles pending acquisition of Tangosol for its data grid technology may be the first in a series of moves to consolidate the space.

Oracle said it wanted Tangosol for its software that increases application performance by providing fast, distributed access to frequently used data. Tangosols product, Coherence Data Grid, is a fundamental enabler for the rapidly growing use of XTP (extreme transaction processing) in financial services, telecommunications, travel and logistics industries.

"Together, Oracle and Tangosol create the industrys most comprehensive middleware for building applications that perform real-time data analytics; grid-based, in-memory computations; and high-performance transactions," said Oracle Senior Vice President Thomas Kurian.

Kurian went on to wax eloquent about what Tangosol means to Oracle in a speech at TheServerSide Java Symposium last week.

With Tangosol, a leader in its space, now subsumed by Oracle, look for Tangosol competitors such as Appistry, Terracotta, Gigaspaces and Azul, among others, to get gobbled up by the big companies that need to keep pace with Oracle.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about Oracles recent acquisition of Hyperion.

Indeed, Ari Zilka, co-founder of Terracotta, which offers an open-source clustering solution somewhat akin to Tangosols, said the acquisition of Tangosol leaves Terracotta as the only independent, heterogeneous solution for customers looking for a grid solution. Sam Charrington, vice president of product management and marketing at Appistry, based in St. Louis, said of that claim: "Were not so vain," noting that although Appistry is not open source, it, too, offers a heterogeneous solution.

Meanwhile, Tangosol can boast 1,500 implementations. The company also last week announced its Coherence for the Microsoft .Net Framework.

Coherence for the .Net Framework allows Microsoft .Net applications to access Coherence clustered services, including data, data events and data processing, from outside the Coherence cluster. Typical uses of Coherence for the .Net Framework include desktop and Web applications that require access to Coherence caches.

Meanwhile, Cameron Purdy, CEO of Tangosol, was named one of three "Rock Star" speakers for this years JavaOne conference. Thats no surprise to me. Purdys been a rock star of the Java world for some time, not only leading his company, but also giving back to the industry and trying to open doors for new generations of developers. As Bootsy Collins would say, Purdys been a "Rock Star Doll, Baby Bubba."

But Zilka and Charrington are budding rock stars in the space. And I wouldnt be surprised to see either of their companies gobbled up. Its pretty plain that Oracle is not the only company that looked at Tangosol. Rumor has it that BEA Systems also took a peek, among others.

"The way this usually works is that you have a new breed of company that enters into a space and disrupts things to the point that the incumbents have to take notice," Charrington said. "Then theres a case of who is going to break first. In this case, Oracle broke and made a move to acquire Tangosol. Well see if that leads to further activity. But were in a good place."

Charringtons boss, Kevin Haar, CEO of Appistry, said, "We think this is exciting news not just for Tangosol, but for the industry as a whole. It represents a strong vote of confidence in an emerging technology approach pioneered by companies like Tangosol, Appistry and others—one which dramatically simplifies the process of developing agile, scalable applications. When a large, incumbent vendor like Oracle not only takes notice, but takes action, its a clear indication that a sea change is occurring and that an early-adopter market is starting to cross the chasm. Many of our customers are also good Oracle customers, so we look forward to working with the company as it integrates the Tangosol product into its infrastructure suite and application portfolio."

Meanwhile, Terracotta went open source at the end of last year. Zilka said the community has responded wholeheartedly to its open-source move, and the quality of the technology has increased based on the input from the community.

When Terracotta announced its move to go open source, Tangosols Purdy said: "Building a software business in the age of open-source software is extremely difficult unless you can show compelling value. For a highly technical solution such as Terracotta, the open-source model allows them to more readily communicate the necessary steps for integrating their software to potential customers, with the promise of a support revenue stream. I think that moving their product into open source is a wise move for Terracotta, and wish them luck in their endeavor."

Zilka, another budding technology rock star, and former architect at Walmart.com, said going open source has probably been the best thing for Terracotta. Indeed, the community is growing, and Zilka is soon to announce that Geert Bevin, the founder of the RIFE full-stack open-source component framework to quickly and consistently develop and maintain Java Web applications, will be joining the Terracotta community and bringing all his technology and community members along with him.

Not only that, Terracotta is working on building out an entire stack of technology to deliver clustering, high availability and scalability to Java applications. Keep an eye on these guys.

Its only my hunch, but I believe therell be further consolidation in this space.

Weve seen it in the SOA (service-oriented architecture) space, and my bet is well begin to see it in the AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) space. Though that market is still on the upswing. But with 200 different AJAX frameworks out there and some 20 or more IDEs (integrated development environments), something has to give. But thats a whole nother story and fodder for a different column.

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